Take a deep breath and take in the latest research in terms of what bed bugs like and don’t like. According to researchers at the University of Florida and Union College, the maddening insects might prefer living in red and black sheets than any other color.
But the study featured in the Journal of Medical Entomology stays away from any bold claims, so don’t go throwing out your black bedding just yet. It seems that understanding bed bugs could be more complicated than that.
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) spend most of their days hiding in cracks and crevices – also known as their “harborage.” As bed bugs become increasingly resistant to insecticides, researchers try to figure out what makes a perfect nest and how humans can ruin them.
Many insects use color as a behavioral cue, and change colors is a cheap way to design a new trap. So researchers decided to test if bed bugs have any color preferences.
According to previous studies, bed bugs are bad at distinguishing color in the dark – the time when they are most active – but the new research was designed to determine whether color has any role to play when bed bugs had a light shone on them.
The team wanted to see if bed bugs will go to any harborage in the frenzied move to find a hiding place, and seeing their results, one might say the insects are rather picky.
For the experiments, the bed bugs were placed in petri dishes that contained multiple color choices in the form of little tents of material. The choice of hiding for each bug was recorded 10 minutes after it was placed in the petri dish.
More than just testing bed bugs of different age, sex, and hunger levels, the researchers also made sure the insects didn’t make the hiding choices based on location by shuffling the colored materials around.
When they were hungry, bed bugs cared less about color; but across the board, the bed bugs showed an increased preference for red and black.
The most unpopular color was white, followed closely by yellow and green; all of these colors were associated with light and, thus, danger. By contrast, red and black might be seen as hidden and safe because they are darker.
But despite the results of the experiments, it might not matter that much what color your sheet are, because, after all, bed bugs are often already hiding by the time you turn your bedroom lights on.
Image Source: Vervs